Finding Arthur: the true origins of the once and future king

by Adam Ardrey


If you thought that the place names associated with King Arthur were to be found in Wales or the West country you will be interested to know that, according to Adam Ardrey’s research, King Arthur belongs to Scotland. You will also be interested to know that he was never king or Christian, that is maybe why he is remembered in myth and legend. His people were not the eventual victors or ‘winners’ in the propaganda exercise, The Christian faith was successful and it is to these sources that Ardrey has gone to find Arthur.

Adam Ardrey’s previous publication explored Merlin and his meticulous research confirmed the facts around Merlin: he was a druid and leading figure in the Kingdom of Strathclyde around the same time that Arthur, a prince, but not king of the Scots, was fighting the Picts and the Angles. His latest book claims that Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh was named after this Arthur because he saved the people of Edinburgh from The Angles. He also claims that the King’s Knot, an earthwork in the grounds of Stirling Castle provides the origin of the round table. Adam Ardrey is able to strip away the magical stories of the Arthurian legend and show the facts which he thinks prove his case. The famous twelve battles listed by Nennius which were fought against the Picts on one hand and the Angles on the other, have all been meticulously pieced together and the actual sites documented. The last battle was fought against Mordred, his nephew, of the Goddodin at Camelon, near Falkirk. Mordred attacked Arthur when he was at his weakest just after a battle where Arthur had finally  defeated the Picts. Four of these twelve battles were fought in the Borders in 586 and it is in these battles that Arthur utterly defeats the Angles and makes sure that when they do attack again, they will attack southwards not north into Scotland. He secured peace for 50 years.

The book is a fascinating and convincing read, many of the characters are historically accurate. Ardrey can account for Gawain, Gareth, Gaheris, Cai(Kay), Mordred, King  Lot (of Orkney) and Merlin. He is able to piece together the facts behind the legends of the sword in the stone, the sword Excalibur and the other stories we associate with Arthur.  Guinevere (the name means ‘most fair’ or ‘exceedingly beautiful’)  was probably a Pictish princess who brought lands with her and these were coveted by others and there was no affair of the heart as is described in the legends. Certainly Ardrey believes that Lancelot was a very late addition to the myths.  The fact that his wife may have been unfaithful was a way of belittling Arthur.

Arthur was a prince, who died before his father, so was never a king. He fought with a war band on horseback for the kingdom of the Scots and for his father, the king. The Scots had come from over the water in Ireland and settled in Western Scotland. They were to give Scotland its name.  The Scots fought the Picts for the land which was eventually to be called after them and also with the Angles who would conquer the southern part of Scotland fifty years after Arthur’s death.

Adam Ardey’s meticulous and careful research is seductive. Perhaps he has found the real Arthur. Certainly this is a fascinating read.

Denise Lintott